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Miracle Hill: The Story of a Navajo Boy Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This remarkable book, written by a Navajo schoolboy, is a lyrical, beautiful work which affords a rare insight into the heart and soul of the American Indian." —Los Angeles Times"It is the tale, graphically if uniquely written, of a young Navajo growing up astride two cultures, and it is wonderful to watch how he grows mentally, retaining his deep love of nature, his strong family ties, and the best of his Indian background. . . . Written in any other way, [it] would have been facts without feeling." —Monterey Peninsula Herald"An engaging book, erratic, fresh and at times poetic." —N. Scott Momaday, New York Times Book Review

From the Back Cover

"It was in the year of 1945 on a cold morning, the fifth day, in the month of March. A little boy was born as the wind blew against the hogan with bitter colds and the stars were disappearing into the heavens." So begins the story of Bronco, a Navajo boy who tells of his search for a miracle. Through that telling we learn a new perspective on language and life. In Miracle Hill, Blackhorse Mitchell presents the unforgettable account of a boy's struggle to learn--which would be for him a miracle--in the face of handicaps most people would call insurmountable. Under the guidance of a teacher determined to help him pursue that miracle, he records his life from birth to the dawn of manhood: herding family sheep, living at a boarding school, encountering whites for the first time, journeying home, and finally enrolling in the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where his talent was encouraged. Miracle Hill is written in a distinctively personal style, without strict adherence to orthodox grammar that would have robbed Mitchell of his true voice. Filled with unforgettable characters and brimming with insights into Navajo ways and family relationships, it is a book that crosses cultural barriers and speaks to the miracle-seeker in us all. "An engaging book, erratic, fresh and at times poetic." --N. Scott Momaday, New York Times Book Review "This remarkable book, written by a Navajo schoolboy, is a lyrical, beautiful work which affords a rare insight into the heart and soul of the American Indian." --Los Angeles Times "It is the tale, graphically if uniquely written, of a young Navajo growing up astride two cultures, and it is wonderful to watch how he grows mentally, retaining his deep love of nature, his strong family ties, and the best of his Indian background. . . . Written in any other way, [it] would have been facts without feeling." --Monterey Peninsula Herald "All through his book blow the scented winds of the southwest, 'making a tooting sound of musical hums' all the way to the ranges where, as a boy reaches one far mountain, another beckons." --Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816523983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816523986
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Constance M. Gotsch on January 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
MIRACLE HILL is Blackhorse Mitchell's autobiography. He began the book at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe as a writing student. It tells the story of his growing up on the Navajo Reservation in the Four Corners. Much of what he talks about is familiar to me, because I live near the reservation, on the New Mexico side of the Four Corners. I've read about Navajo children going to boarding school, the role of grandparents in Navajo culture, the importance of visions and dreams to the Navajo, and the work of herding sheep in other Navajo biographies. What is special about MIRACLE HILL, however, is Mitchell's use of language. Navajo is a very un-European language in terms of syntax, tense and pronunciation. It's hard for us to learn, if we don't start as babies. It's also hard for Navajos to learn English, if they don't start very young. When anybody tranlates from one language to another, they end up with their own idioms--something they put together that wouldn't nornally quite go that way in the language they're trying to speak, but actually comes from their own language. We all know the old Pennsylvania Dutch expression The milk is out -- meaning the milk is all gone. This is a direct translation of German, but not totally "correct" in English. We must say "all gone", or "we're out of milk." A German can simply say "Alles", all or "Aus", out and it's perfectly gramatically correct. Blackhorse Mitchell has caught this sense of working between two languages in MIRACLE HILL. We get a sense of our language through his eyes, and that is a touching and humbling experience. It is what makes the book good. It makes me realize how many ways we can use grammer and construct sentences to make ourselves understood. It reassures me that all human languages are very rich.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
First begun in 1962 as a 12th grade classroom assignment to pen the author's life story, Miracle Hill: The Story Of A Navajo Boy is the memoir of growing up and earning his passage into manhood. Author Blackhorse Mitchell recounts learning Navajo ways, herding sheep, living at a boarding school, the first time he encountered white people, and eventually, earning a place in the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where his creative talent was encouraged and given ample opportunity to grow. Relating daily life in plain terms that transcent cultural barriers, Miracle Hill offers a unique and unforgettable picture of the Southwest. Highly recommended reading for students of Native American Studies as well as the non-specialist general reader with an interest in contemporary Native American culture.
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